Skip to main content

Monitor population immunity against vaccine preventable diseases

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Vaccinesurvey (Monitor population immunity against vaccine preventable diseases)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2019-06-30

The objective of VACCINESURVEY is to develop and validate an innovative immune assay tool to monitor effectiveness, progress and coverage of immunizations programs by assessing the serum reactivity of a target population against a set of vaccine antigens chosen amongst those utilized in most EPIs in resource poor countries. The proposed technical solution is based on a protein micro-array that function as capture substrate for serum antibodies. This assay format integrates multiplex capability and powerful analytical performance that through the generation of different reactivity profiles supports measures aimed at monitoring the immunization status in a defined region or population subset, whilst discriminating vaccinated versus infected individuals. The assay results can be used to generate interactive data sets for modeling changes in the age-specific risk of infection and the risk of outbreaks and to potentially produce spatial-temporal co-ordinates of individual determinations.
The consortium worked to demonstrate the capability of the immunoassay to detect and quantify serum antibodies against tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis B, Hemophilus, meningococcus mumps, poliomyelitis rotavirus, rubella, measles and yellow fever and its suitability in field settings. In order to move from proof of concept stage to the development of a functional assay the consortium activities were planned around the following objectives: i) assay design and specification; ii) assay protocol and format for the detection of antibodies to vaccine components; iii) analytical and clinical performance validation; iv) assessment of population immunity in the field and analysis of vaccinated versus infected individuals: v) develop an operational tool to be exploited by users of the vaccine surveillance community and finally; vi) capacity building and technology adoption.

Alongside research and development objectives the project promoted mutual transfer of knowledge between academia and industry by implementing a number of staff secondments. The consortium focused on the transfer of ideas, research results and skills between researchers involved in the secondment activities. Staff secondments had been planned around the project scientific activities, therefore learning by experience (working alongside the host institution staff) and participating to scientific meetings and seminars at the host institutions was considered the best practice of transfer of knowledge within the consortium. Seconded researchers also had the opportunity to visit associated laboratories and attend international conferences and training opportunities in the host institution country.

Overall, the VaccineSurvey partnership faced a number of challenges during the 54-month long project activities that included changes and under-performance in the partnerships, experimental challenges, mobility issues, etc. The beneficiaries involved in the project have achieved most of the planned objectives with some delays and deviations that have been reported to the Commission and addressed with the best corrective measures possible within partners' reach.
The proposed assay system would be instrumental to support current initiatives aimed at strengthening and monitoring vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) surveillance and immunization programs by enabling the implementation of objective quality control procedures, the identification of clusters of susceptible individuals, assessing reactivity profiles and even mapping the risk of disease outbreaks.
The future implementation of a refined version of the assay developed by the VaccineSurvey consortium, that is an affordable, reliable and easy-to-use tool to measure the antibody response to several vaccines, could significantly help improve surveillance and outbreak control, thus enabling more programmatic and strategic plans and contributing towards a better use of government and donor-supported funds, particularly when identifying areas that may require additional resources to ensure optimal health system performance both in emergency and non-emergency situations.